Our dream was to go to Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad in German) to meet spring, but instead we were received by a snowstorm when we, at Cheb, drove from Bavaria into the Czech Republic. That was quite unfortunate, because right there you drive on a country road with oncoming traffic and we had changed to summer tyres. However, already before our departure from Zurich, we had understood that the Easter weather would cold this time. Therefore, I had requested late check-out at our hotel Aqua Marina, so that we would have time to enjoy both a long hotel breakfast and some time at the pool. The plan was to wait out the sun before we set out sightseeing.
We started our walking tour in the lower part of the centre where our children got this trip’s first trdelník - a sweet Czech Easter bread baked over hot coals. Then we continued through the spa town’s grandiose villa district up to the Orthodox Church. Of this, I thought to have maintained a strong visual picture from the years 1991-92, when I lived in Prague as a student. But that was a while ago and I must admit that this time I was pretty disappointed with the interior although, admittedly, the outside is very beautiful.
Nowadays Karlovy Vary has again become highly popular with the Russian upper class, but possibly that country’s financial crisis is making itself reminded, for apart from certain oddities (eg, signs in our hotel spa written only in Russian – i.e. neither in Czech, English nor German), at least this year, I did not experience that Russians would be dominating the town, which some Czechs tend to claim.
Back in the centre, it was time for us to taste the famous mineral water from the hot springs in the modern - but certainly not uninteresting - building where you will also find the mighty geyser Vřídlo. Our children rejected it with the comment that it tasted blood (it is very rich in iron) but both my wife and I took some hefty gulps.
Fortunately, after this we were quite content with our day tour, because then it again started to snow profusely. At first this did not matter, since we anyhow needed to eat something, but soon enough it was time to continue our journey to Prague. Yet again I waw driving on a road with oncoming traffic. Honestly, the combination of snow and summer tires made this to one of my more unpleasant driving experiences in several years. Good thing we liked Karlovy Vary!
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Our first family trip by car to the Czech Republic took us to the cities and towns of Prague, České Budějovice, Český Krumlov, Písek and Tábor plus the castle of Hluboká. During the second one, we visited Znojmo, Telč, Brno and, of course, Prague.
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